Vesuvio Is The Curly Pasta Shape Named After A Volcano

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Just when we think we've seen it all with fun pasta shapes (seriously, we've rounded up when you should use 44 different types of pasta), the motherland of noodles is here to throw us a curveball. If you've ever traveled to Italy, you may have seen Vesuvio, a short, curly type of pasta. Vesuvio differs from other similar noodle shapes (like fusilli and cavatappi) in that it has a swirly body but a thin tip that pokes out. There's a reason for a shape that specific — Vesuvio was inspired by Mount Vesuvius, a volcano near Naples. It's been dormant since 1944 but is still thought to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of how close it sits to towns in the area.

Since Naples is the capital of the Campania region of Italy, that's the only place you'll find this type of noodle. Pasta makers may distribute their Vesuvio all over the world, but they only exist in Campania, and primarily in the town of Gragnano. In fact, Gragnano is considered an ideal pasta-making town, since its location between the mountain air and ocean breeze drifting off the Amalfi Coast creates pristine conditions for drying noodles.

How to use vesuvio

Perhaps this isn't the first time you've seen this specific swirly shape of noodle. If you've ever tasted trottole, you may be wondering — what's the difference here? You may sometimes see trottole with fewer swirls than Vesuvio, but other than that, these two pastas are essentially the same thing. Therefore, you can use them in very similar ways.

Because Vesuvio contains multiple folds, it's an ideal noodle for holding onto sauce. All that liquid seeps into the layers, so you won't get a single bite of dry pasta. To capitalize on this quality, pair Vesuvio with your favorite arrabbiata, marinara, vodka, or Bolognese sauce. And while it's not a traditional Italian recipe, these noodles are ideal for a thick, creamy sauce like Alfredo. But that's not all they're good for — much like tortellini, Vesuvio is easy to stab with a fork, so it's also a great option for tossing in pasta salads. To try it out, add it to a veggie antipasti Italian pasta salad or chopped caprese salad recipe. It's also a good noodle to throw in soups, where it's small enough to fit in your spoon and provides a chewy bite. You may have to hunt a little to find Vesuvio, although online retailers like Amazon and Eataly are a good place to start.